Sunday, February 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Daring Bakers:Tiramisu

February is an insanely busy month for me and I knew that this challenge would require some time. There are many compenents to this dessert, but none were terribly difficult. I also got excited to try some new techniques including making my own cheese (the leftovers went great with blood oranges). This was my favorite Daring Bakers challenge since the pizza. The mascarpone was so easy and such a dream. It was smooth and creamy and I couldn't get enough. I normally don't like whipped cream, but mixed with mascarpone, pastry cream, and zabaglione, it transforms into something I can consume non-stop. I halved all the recipe parts and served it in these little wine glasses I love.

Empty Tiramisu
(I ate the whole thing)

Recipes can be found on the sites of our hosts. To see the very many creative renditions of this dessert, visit the blogroll.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I pick up random items that I don't particularly need, but know they will come in handy. A couple of weeks ago, that ingredient was buttermilk. I love buttermilk. It's such a versatile ingredient and it lasts such a long time. Plus, you can freeze the leftovers and have buttermilk for ages. I wasn't sure whether to go savory or sweet with my most recent buttermilk purchase, but once I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Pounding the dough and turning is a similar technique to making puff pastry. It makes incredibly fluffy, multi-layered biscuits that are enjoyed in a variety of ways. Enjoy these with a simple drizzle of honey, some jam, some butter, or if you're feeling extra creative, make some homemade McMuffins. You will love them. I promise.

Homemade English McMuffin

Buttermilk Biscuits
(From Homesick Texan)

Makes 8-10 large biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cold
3/4 cup of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.

Add the buttermilk, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.

Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it sticky.

Take dough into a ball, and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes.

Roll out dough until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick, and then fold it in half.

Using a round cutter cut out your biscuits from folded dough.

Place on a greased baking sheet close together (so they rise up not out). Brush each biscuit with a bit of egg wash and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blood Oranges with Mascarpone, Honey, and Pistachios

Blood Oranges with Mascarpone, Honey, and Pisachios

I recently picked up some blood oranges at the farmers market. They were getting almost to the point of sad looking because I haven't had much time to cook lately, but I knew I wanted to do something delicious with them. I recently tried my hand at making my own cheese in the form of mascarpone. It's my new favorite thing and I am slightly obsessed with it. Although I had a bit of ricotta in my fridge, I decided to pair the oranges with the rich mascarpone and a some pistachios for color and crunch. The result was a sweet, but not too rich dessert that I could not get enough of. Seriously. I love that blood oranges are tart and sweet, but not too much of either and the sweet, creamy mascarpone paired well with the tartness. The pistachios added great crunch and the honey tied everything together. I dare you to stop at one bite with this simple, yet stunning dessert.

Blood Oranges with Mascarpone, Honey, and Pistachios
(Inspired by Fig and Cherry)

Makes 2 servings

1-2 small blood oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
2-3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
Honey to taste, plus extra for drizzling
1 tablepoon unsalted, roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

In a small bowl, mix together the mascarpone with enough honey to reach the desired sweetness. Arrange the blood orange rounds on a plate. Top with the mascarpone and sprinkle with pistachios. Drizzle the entire plate with honey and serve immediately.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spicy Turkey Burgers

Spicy Turkey Burger

I always seem to have ground turkey in my freezer. I decided to use some up and make turkey burgers. These are simple for any night of the week. I love using those sandwich thin thingies instead of a bun so I don't feel so full. Arugula has been my green of choice lately. I have it almost daily on sandwiches or as a side with a spritz of Meyer lemon juice and some olive oil. These are spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. It's more like a gentle heat that won't have your mouth on fire. Even the biggest spice wimps can handle this.

Spicy Turkey Burgers
(Adapted from Blue Kitchen)

Makes 2 burgers

Olive oil
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground Aleppo chili
1/2 teaspoon salt

Saute jalapeño pepper and onion with a little olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, gently mix turkey. cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and cooled pepper and onion mixture with your hands until just combined. Form into 2 patties.

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add a bit of olive oil and saute turkey patties for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Serve on a bun with whatever toppings you would like.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Stir It 28

This coming Sunday, food bloggers in Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta are joining together to host a fundraiser for Haiti. Stir It 28 is the brainchild of The Duo Dishes, Coco Cooks, and Flanboyant Eats. Here in LA, the event will take place at the home of Greg of the fabulous Sippity Sup. I'm so honored to be part of this event. Tickets are $30 presale and $35 at the door. I encourage locals to come taste a sampling from other area bloggers and to enjoy the merriment in support of a good cause. To find out how to purchase tickets, click here and to find out more about the event, visit the Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Orzo Pilaf WIth Asparagus and Prosciutto

Orzo Pilaf with Asparagus and Prosciutto

Sometimes, when I see I recipe, I can't stop thinking about it until I try it myself. That's how I have been with this asparagus and orzo. Asparagus is sort of always in season in SoCal, even though it's not as great now as it will be in a couple of months. I normally am not a huge fan of cooking with butter (unless it's a sweet treat), but I think the butter is essential here, plus if you use whole wheat orzo like I did, you can trick yourself into thinking this is a healthier dish. The leftovers keep really well for a few days so this was a great lunch to have at work last week. Now that I have had my first asparagus of the year, I am already thinking of more ways I can use it.

Orzo Pilaf with Asparagus and Prosciutto
(Adapted from Hungry Cravings)

Makes 2-3 servings

2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 ounces orzo
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, thinly sliced on a bias
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring the broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat heat the oil and butter until very hot, but not smoking. Add the orzo and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the orzo is al dente. Stir in the prosciutto and asparagus and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on individual plates, top with Parmesan, and serve immediately.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

"Almost" Buffalo Wings

"Almost" Buffalo Wings

Just because the Super Bowl is over doesn't mean you can't enjoy chicken wings. Well, I actually made these for Super Bowl watching, but they are great if you want a spicy chicken recipe for any time. These wings get their name from the fact that they are not fried like traditional Buffalo wings, however, they are just like traditional wings in every other sense. Marinating them in some of the sauce means that the spicy, vinegary flavor can be found throughout the chicken, but they are still crisp even after baking. The cool blue cheese sauce is the perfect thing to cool down your lips after a few bites of the chicken and the crisp celery lubricates your mouth as you go back for more. This was one of the first, if not the first times I enjoyed semi-traditional wings like this, and I am very much hoping it won't be the last time.

"Almost" Buffalo Wings

"Almost" Buffalo Wings
(Adapted from Serious Eats)

Makes 2-3 servings

For the wings:
2 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons canola oil
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

3 ribs celery, cut into 4-inch long sticks

Rinse the wings and pat them dry, then toss in a bowl with the oil and a good pinch each of salt and pepper.

To make the sauce: Melt the butter over low heat in a sauce pan. Remove the pan from the heat then whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients. Taste for spiciness, and add cayenne if desired.

Toss the wings with a quarter of the sauce and refrigerate for an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a foil-lined baking sheet with a neutral oil such as canola, using a paper towel or brush to ensure it coats all of the surface. Arrange the wing pieces skin-side-up.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown, and until the wings release easily from the baking sheet. Using a pair of tongs, turn the pieces over and return to the oven to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp.

When the wing are finished cooking, pour the Buffalo sauce into a shallow bowl and add a few wings at a time. Turn them in the sauce until well-coated, then transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining wings.

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Blue Cheese Sauce
(Adapted from Serious Eats)

2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
Juice from 1/4 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
Salt to taste

In a small bowl, mash the blue cheese until it creates a paste.

Whisk in the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon, and vinegar until smooth. Season with salt to taste.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Healthy Black Bean Dip

Healthy Black Bean Dip

I've decided that if I want to try and keep any semblance of sanity, and still put out great recipes, I may have to stop trying to be so witty and cute in my posts...but am I even very cute or witty in my posts? Anyway, here's a dip I enjoyed while watching the Super Bowl. It's easy, fast, and healthy! Just don't tell anyone. This is definitely going to be my new go to recipe when I want something fun to eat, but don't want to put a lot of time in to it. It's smoky, tangy, and eating it with a dollop of sour cream on top cuts through the spice a bit. I made this on Saturday evening and it was so good, I almost didn't have enough for the game. Now that I am re-stocked on black beans, I have a feeling I'll be making this again very soon.

Healthy Black Bean Dip

Healthy Black Bean Dip
(Adapted from Active Foodie)

Makes 2 generous servings

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 chipotles in adobo
1/4 teaspoon adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, grated
2 small tomatoes, seeds and pulped scooped out and diced, one reserved for topping
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 green onions, whites and light green parts sliced, green tops reserved
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Place beans, chipotles, adobo sauce, salt, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until well mixed.

Add the tomatoes, lime, green onions, and cilantro and pulse just until combined.

Serve with grated cheese, tomatoes, sour cream and corn chips.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Pistachio and Chocolate Frozen Yogurt from Yogurtland

I'm not gonna lie...lately, life sucks. I have no time for anything and I am stressed all the time. My saving grace lately has been quality time with friends, cooking on weekends, and dessert. This past weekend, I was all set to make Active Foodie's black bean dip when I horribly discovered I was out of black beans!! I always like to have things like black beans on hand so I immediately threw on my hat and ran to the nearest Trader Joes. Down the street from TJs is Yogurtland which friends have been raving about for ages. There is always a line, but I finally braved it to see what all the fuss was about. After tasting a few flavors, I decided to go with the pistachio which I tasted and the chocolate twilight, that I didn't taste, but figured it would be good, how could you go wrong with dark chocolate? I tasted a couple of other flavors like Superfruit tart, which was a wonderful combo of pom, and berries and the cheesecake flavor...forgettable. I love chocolate and pistachio, so I added brownie bits to my combo. One of the best things about Yogurtland is that they price based on weight and it seems to be fair pricing. My semi-full cup lasted me three days (most of which was yesterday) and only cost me about $2.50. The downside was that the chocolate part was like eating chocolate scented air, but the pistachio and brownie bits definitely made up for the lack of chocolate flavor in the yogurt. I definitely think that Yogurtland could be a cheaper alternative to my beloved Pinkberry of which I haven't been able to indulge in much lately. I'm definitely not ruling it out in the very near future...along with a calming bubble bath...and maybe a massage..or maybe...

310 South La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Ginger Fried Rice

Ginger Fried Rice

So last week I made the turkey cabbage cups as an appetizer to this rice...and then I saw that a few bloggers had already posted it. I always say there is beauty in simplicity and this rice is the epitome of that. It uses basic ingredients and simple flavors in a combination that cannot be beat. I love fried rice in pretty much any form and I make it often, yet I was so excited to try this recipe. I always have a knob of ginger in the freezer and I definitely always have at least three bulbs of garlic on hand. I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to frying garlic because I fear it burning so it didn't get quite as brown as it should have, but that does not mean the mixture didn't impart a wonderful savory flavor into the rice. I love using leeks instead of green onions in the rice and though I was worried about not mixing the soy sauce into the rice, it made a lovely topping with the egg and sesame oil. I am still without a nonstick pan so I poached my egg rather than frying it. The velvety yolk was perfect with the garlic tinted rice and crunchy topping. I will definitely make this recipe again and who knows...maybe I will even get daring and cook the garlic and ginger mixture a little longer.

Ginger Fried Rice

Ginger Fried Rice
(Adapted from the New York Times)

Makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
2 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce

In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add the leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.

Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through. Season to taste with salt.

In a small saucepan poach the eggs. (You can also fry the eggs in a nonstick skillet)

Divide rice among two dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups

Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups 1/31/10

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!! You may be still looking for something fast and easy to try with your menu today. If so, may I suggest these cabbage cups. Even if you're not, I still suggest them because they are fabulously easy and wonderfully flavorful. With my time being extremely limited lately, the major draw of any recipe is how much time it will take. I am getting a bit better with my knife skills so this recipe basically just takes the time to chop the herbs while the turkey is cooking. It's the perfect light lunch for Sunday afternoon or an appetizer if you have another dish planned for later in the day like I did. As always, I like my spice so I used one whole jalapeno, seeds and all. If you cannot tolerate spice like me (and there are many who cannot), just take out the seeds or use less of the jalapeno. Even though this is just turkey and lettuce, the protein is enough to fill you up and keep you feeling energized throughout the day which is just the kind of thing I need lately.

Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups
(Adapted from Cooking Light)

Makes 2 servings

1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 small jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (you can omit the seeds if you want it less spicy)
6 large napa cabbage leaves
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and turkey to pan; cook 7 minutes or until turkey is done, stirring frequently. Drain turkey mixture; place in a large bowl. Add green onions, sugar, cilantro, mint, lime juice, fish sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, and jalapeno; toss well. Spoon a bit of the turkey mixture into each cabbage leaf. Top with peanuts.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Cinnamon Ice Cream with Toffee

Well, it's official. I am once again addicted to the ice cream maker I purchased last year. I recently made coconut ice cream, then soon after I found myself with a surplus of eggs, milk, and cream so I started a search for a perfect concoction. My ice cream making obsession is particularly weird to me, because I am not even a huge ice cream fan. If I was presented with a bowl full of kettle chips, or a bowl of ice cream, I would pick the kettle chips every time, but there is something so fun in mixing flavors and churning them that I cannot resist. I only made this two weeks ago, and I am already thinking about making something else this weekend so stay tuned. I usually prefer to have a bit of texture in my ice cream so at the last minute, I added some toffee bits I had been saving for a rainy day. I'm not joking, the second this was out of the ice cream maker I mixed it with some roasted salted peanuts and mini chocolate chips and had a field day. This is some seriously good stuff.

Cinnamon Ice Cream with Toffee

Cinnamon Ice Cream
(Adapted from Culinary Fool)

1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Toffee bits (optional)

Put the milk in a small saucepan with the cinnamon over medium heat. Stir until well combined. Cook, stirring now and then, until the milk is steaming hot but not quite boiling.

While the milk is heating put the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl with the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Stir about one-third of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, then transfer the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring, until the mixture is once again steaming hot but not quite boiling.

Strain the custard into the cream and mix well to combine. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap into the mixture to avoid forming a film. Once the mixture is completely cooled, churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. When there are about two minutes remaining, stir in the toffee bits if desired.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mustard Greens and Winter Citrus Salad

Mustard Greens and Citrus Salad 1/24/10

A few weeks ago I received and email from Diana that made me smile. "I found the perfect recipe for you!". Apparently I have become known as a kale queen of sorts. I had just seen the kale and blood orange salad recipe and had just added it to my Springpad. Soon after, I spotted this NY Times recipe using winter citrus. My original intention was to do both recipes, but in a last minute twist I decided to combine the two. A couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to the Santa Monica farmers market. It's not my usual farmers market, but I like to go if I can't make it to Beverly Hills or Hollywood on a Sunday. Unfortunately, I got there late and a lot of the produce was sold out. I got the blood oranges for free, because one vendor felt sorry for me when I complained that everyone was out. He gave me his last three sad looking oranges that he hadn't been planning to sell. In my rush to pick up produce as the market was closing, I picked up what I thought was kale, but turned out to be purple mustard greens. I'll just say I am not a fan of purple mustard greens so I strongly urge you to use kale if you make this. Mustard greens have a strong floral, honey scent, but it can be a bit off-putting when raw. However I loved the citrus here which is why I decided to still share this recipe with you. So much of winter eating can make you feel heavy and bloated, but this fresh bright salad is exactly the opposite. The flavors are bright and the dressing is tangy with a hint of anise flavor from the tarragon. I will definitely make this again using my beloved kale.

Mustard Greens and Citrus Salad

Mustard Greens and Winter Citrus Salad
(Adapted from The New York Times and The Kitchn)

Makes 2 generous servings

1 bunch mustard greens (or black kale), washed and sliced into 1/4-inch wide ribbons
4 small blood oranges, segmented or peeled and sliced, juice reserved
1 Cara Cara orange, peeled and sliced, juiced reserved
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1 teaspoon (approximately) meyer lemon juice
Juice from 2 clementines
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly chopped tarragon or a pinch dried.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the blood orange juice, Cara Cara juice, clementine juice,Meyer lemon zest, hone, olive oil, and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the greens and, toss until the leaves are coated with dressing. Add the citrus and shallots and toss to combine.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Super Bowl Ideas

I can't believe the Super Bowl is just a week away. The years are going by faster and faster which I guess is one of the tell-tale signs of old age. LOL. In any case, it's that time of year again and whether you're having a gathering of one or 50, I have some fabulous recipes for you to set out on your table.

I'm not a huge football fan like I used to be, but I always make time for the Super Bowl. I always have to consume beer and chicken wings. This year it will probably be these super spicy, but wonderfully amazing Sriracha Chicken Wings. These replace regular old buffalo wings in my book.

Sriracha Chicken Wings

Maybe you're not up for a lot of fuss and want to just cook up a big pot of something warming for your friends. This spicy turkey chili is great for one or a crowd and takes just minutes to throw together.

Turkey Black Bean Chili

If you're in a warmer climate, or you just feel like firing up the indoor grill, I strongly suggest these easy peasy prosciutto wrapped shrimp. It is super fast to pull together and you can't beat working with just two ingredients. Even though they are no fuss, the flavor is outstanding.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp

Chips and dip are always on the menu for game day. How about making it different with a feta salsa?

Feta Salsa

Of course, a sweet treat is a must at the end of all the savory food and beer. Why not try a sweet and salty mix of peanut chocolate blondies. They will probably go perfectly with all the beer you'll be consuming.

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Blondies

Whatever you end up doing for the Super Bowl, I hope you have a fun and safe celebration with a TON of good eats!!

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